Totem Pole Coal Protest Draws 100 In Missoula

Aug 28, 2015

About a hundred people came to Missoula’s Har Shalom synagogue this morning to be part of a protest against a new shipping terminal on the coast of Washington. Opponents say the terminal will cause environmental problems.

Native American Carver Jewell James of the Lummi Nation is taking a 22-foot long totem pole he carved from Washington to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation southeast of Billings. He hopes it spurs opposition to the proposed Gateway Pacific terminal.

"We believe in these journeys, because we believe that people can send prayers," James told those at the synagogue today. "We believe that you can project your prayers to others and to other places."

The Crow tribe in Montana is backing the new shipping terminal, because it could help the tribe export some of its substantial coal reserves to China and other Asian markets. The Pacific Gateway Terminal is also being backed by the Republican members of Montana’s Congressional Delegation, Senator Steve Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke.